Video: Benelli Advanced Impact, testing the 20-ga Raffaello semi-automatics and 828 S over-and-under

The traditional appearance of the semi-automatic Raffaello actually includes a great deal of Benelli technology with the loading and unloading systems, the Progressive Comfort in the stock blade and now the new A.I. barrels.

There are many and non-negligible novelties presented by Benelli during 2024. The new Advanced Impact (A.I.) bore contours have been applied to several models of the wide range of shotguns manufactured and we have had the opportunity to test their performance. The first consideration is to recognise that the Advanced Impact project is not simply an enlargement of Benelli's bores diameter, but a new combined system of barrels and chokes that aims to guarantee different performance for hunters and shooters, both in terms of terminal ballistics and with improved gun stability and ergonomics when firing. Invited and assisted by Benelli staff, we received the Raffaello semi-automatics in the two 20-gauge Silver and Black versions and the 828 S over-and-under, where the S stands for Superior, indicating an exclusive gun in terms of the engraving aesthetics and the mechanics, which includes the new A.I. barrels. This first test session is therefore dedicated to the 20-gauge shotguns, which as usual includes a field trip to the hunting grounds with my pointer dogs to see the special features that distinguish the guns in action, and the shooting range, where the ergonomics and performance will be assessed through repeated skeet shooting sessions.

Benelli Advanced Impact: barrels and chokes

The two Black and Silver versions of the Benelli Raffaello A.I. 20 gauge.

After the chamber, the internal profile of Benelli's Advanced Impact barrels features a long initial forcing cone of about 40 cm that ends in a cylindrical section with an increased diameter that in 12 gauge can reach 19.8 mm and in 20 gauge, what we dealt with in this test, is 16.8 mm. The cylindrical section is followed by the last section of the barrel, which towards the muzzle sees a constriction cone inside the choke tube redesigned by Benelli engineers to ensure that choke values are exactly matched and scaled to the barrel, thus guaranteeing the hunter the desired result and a clear differentiation between the shot patterns of different choke values chosen for the specific hunting situation.

In the various ballistic tests the difference and combination of the different diameters in the Advanced impact barrels and chokes led  to astonishing results in both the speed of the pellet swarm and the power and accuracy of shot patterns. This could also be seen during our test, with clay pigeon targets neatly broken even at considerable ranges and in immediate and safe slaughter of game during the field test. The performance of the new barrels is not only evident with conventional lead cartridges, but especially with steel cartridges, which due to the different mass of the alternative materials to lead tend to lose velocity and power quickly, recovered in part thanks to the bore contours of these barrels. The 20-gauge chokes are 70 mm long and come in a complete set of five, from cylinder to **** / ***/ ** and *. In practical terms,  in the field the hunter can notice safe shots and kills at greater ranges, and less felt recoil and muzzle climb on the shoulder thanks to the different bore drilling, which allows for a different and better distributed absorption and propagation of the shot kinetic energy along the whole gun. The feeling, even with fairly light shotguns such as the 20-ga Raffaello semi-automatic, is that of a more stable gun on the shoulder when firing follow-up shots.

With its sleek, streamlined lines, the Benelli Raffaello semi-automatic proves to be an elegant and functional gun for hunting on the move.

The gun in our test: Raffaello A.I. 20-ga semi-automatic

The Raffaello semiautomatic, despite its light weight of 2.6 kg in 20-gauge, is quick and stable at the shoulder when doubling shots.

The Raffaello semi-automatic shotgun, known and recognisable to hunters for its sleek, streamlined lines, is available in a black anodised version and a silver-fnished version. Compact and well balanced with a weight of only 2.6 kg, it is suitable for any kind of walking hunt, where lightness and speed of swing play a fundamental role. The A.I. barrels with which it is equipped are available in 65 and 70 cm lengths and fitted with the internal and interchangeable choke set. The barrel features a 76 mm magnum chamber. Inside the European walnut stock with Wood Fx treatment we find the Benelli Progressive Comfort recoil reduction system, capable of cushioning the negative effects of felt recoil progressively in relation to the power of the fired loads through a system of absorbing fingers. Trigger pull is set at 2.5 kg and, as always in Benelli guns, it is possible to adjust the drop and length of pull using the drop shim kit provided.

Benelli 828 S over-and-under

The 828 S over-and-under is made from a nickel-plated and finely engraved Ergal receiver. The weight in 20-gauge does not exceed 2.7 kg and the performance achieved with the 65 cm A.I. barrels fitted with 4- and 3-star chokes has been very positive in the field.

The 828 S over-and-under, i.e. the Superior version equipped with Advanced impact barrels, is available both in 12-gauge and in our 20-gauge test version. Undisputed elegance dedicated to those who love tradition and the carefully crafted aesthetics r the engravings visibly recalling Renaissance floral themes. The finely engraved receiver is made of ergal and nickel-plated. This and other features such as the carbon fiber rib, allow the shotgun to have a weight of no more than 2.7 kg in 20-gauge. The A.I. barrels have 76 mm magnum chambers and are available in lengths of 65/70 and 76 cm, always with the set of five internal chokes. The stock and fore-end are made from grade 3 European walnut wood and the progressive Comfort recoil reduction system is also present in the stock blade. The trigger pull revised by Benelli has been lightened to 1.6 kg. The immediate feeling and performance of the new barrels, which made us appreciate the gun and enjoy ourselves during the tests, is clearly perceptible from the video, which will show better than words safe kills achieved with standard 20-ga cartridges and clay pigeons neatly hit even with the second barrel at considerable ranges, while among fellow journalists, in an atmosphere of serene confrontation, there was no lack of healthy competition on the shooting stand.

For more information on the Raffaello and 828 S shotgun and the new Advanced Impact barrels please visit the Benelli website.

This article is also available in this language: